RealClimate logo


Global Warming Delusions at the Wall Street Journal

Filed under: — david @ 18 October 2007

Daniel Botkin, emeritus professor of ecology at UC Santa Barbara, argues in the Wall Street Journal (Oct 17, page A19) that global warming will not have much impact on life on Earth. We’ll summarize some of his points and then take our turn:

Botkin: The warm climates in the past 2.5 million years did not lead to extinctions.

Response: For the past 2.5 million years the climate has oscillated between interglacials which were (at most) a little warmer than today and glacials which were considerably colder than today. There is no precedent in the past 2.5 million years for so much warming so fast. The ecosystem has had 2.5 million years to adapt to glacial-interglacial swings, but we are asking it to adapt to a completely new climate in just a few centuries. The past is not a very good analog for the future in this case. And anyway, the human species can suffer quite a bit before we start talking extinction.

Botkin: Tropical diseases are affected by other things besides temperature

Response: I’m personally more worried about dust bowls than malaria in the temperate latitudes. Droughts don’t lead to too many extinctions either, but they can destroy civilizations. It is true that tropical diseases are affected by many things besides temperature, but temperature is important, and the coming warming is certainly not going to make the fight against malaria any easier.

Botkin: Kilimanjaro again.

Response: Been there, done that. The article Botkin cites is from American Scientist, an unreviewed pop science magazine, and it is mainly a rehash of old arguments that have been discussed and disposed of elsewhere. And anyway, the issue is a red-herring. Even if it turned out that for some bizarre reason the Kilimanjaro glacier, which is thousands of years old, picked just this moment to melt purely by coincidence, it would not in any way affect the validity of our prediction of future warming. Glaciers are melting around the world, confirming the general warming trends that we measure. There are also many other confirmations of the physics behind the predictions. It’s a case of attacking the science by attacking an icon, rather than taking on the underlying scientific arguments directly.

Botkin: The medieval optimum was a good time

Response: Maybe it was, if you’re interested in Europe and don’t mind the droughts in the American Southwest. But the business-as-usual forecast for 2100 is an entirely different beast than the medieval climate. The Earth is already probably warmer than it was in medieval times. Beware the bait and switch!

Botkin argues for clear-thinking rationality in the discussion about anthropogenic climate change, against twisting the truth, as it were. We couldn’t agree more. Doctor, heal thyself.

For years the Wall Street Journal has been lying to you about the existence of global warming. It doesn’t exist, it’s a conspiracy, the satellites show it’s just urban heat islands, it’s not CO2, it’s all the sun, it’s water vapor, and on and on. Now that those arguments are losing traction, they have moved on from denying global warming’s existence to soothing you with reassurances that it ain’t gonna be such a bad thing.

Fool me once, shame on…shame on you. Fool me–you can’t get fooled again.

-George W. Bush


453 Responses to “Global Warming Delusions at the Wall Street Journal”

  1. 351
    J.C.H. says:

    Haven’t there been 14 named storms so far?

  2. 352
    Tom Fiddaman says:

    Further extending 335’s excellent response to 326: The belief that anthro emissions don’t matter because fossil and land use flows are small compared to the gross natural flows is particularly dangerous when one considers possible feedbacks to the carbon cycle. A mechanism that changes a 100 GT/yr gross flow by 1% is equivalent to a 10% increase in emissions or a 20% change in net accumulation in the atmosphere. This small-difference-of-large-numbers effect gives a lot of leverage on the rate of change of atmospheric CO2 concentration. At best it increases uncertainty; if the feedbacks are mostly positive it’s quite problematic.

  3. 353
    richard says:

    348 ” 1)There are many credible scientists who have doubts about AGW, at least in part.”

    I am not sure if it was your intention to mislead, but I believe most climate scientists accept that AGW is a fact. That does not mean they do not have doubts about the extent of the warming as expressed by IPCC or about what can or should be done about it; after all there is always uncertainty. You seem to be implying that there are a substantial number of climatologists who, based on peer-reviewed science, can make a strong case that AGW is not occurring. I don’t believe that is the case.

    “2) There is a large number of AGW bloggers who consign those scientists, and most sceptics, to the trash pile

    In fact, bloggers on both sides of the issue can be accused of that; sceptic sites in my view are far less tolerant (perhaps because they have less peer-reviewed data to support their position). As far as AGW blogs are concerned, I think that one tends to lose one’s temper when sceptic arguments that heve been shown to have dubious facts to support them are nonetheless brought forward again and again.

  4. 354
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re # 348 Rod B “plowing full speed ahead on mitigation will also create tremendous hardships for great throngs”

    Rod,
    You and other keep repeating that mantra, but you either fail to cite credible sources to support that view, or you fail to read (or acknowledge) credible sources that contradict that view. For rational analyses of the economic costs of dealing with global warming, you might check the publications of Wesleyan University economist Gary Yohe (an ICPP member): http://www.wesleyan.edu/econ/courses/faculty/yohe.html

    And as others have pointed out previously, you and other skeptics seem to have trouble providing names to support your statement (mantra) that “There are many credible scientists who have doubts about AGW, at least in part.” Of course, the vagueness of “credible scientists,” “doubts,” and “at least in part” leaves lots of wiggle room.

    Finally, regarding your comment: “for my money it is far and away one of the most serious/scientific climate warming blog out there.” Be careful – as Thomas Lee Elifritz has informed us, “science is not an authoritarian betting game.”

  5. 355
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Rod B:

    George Bernard Shaw said: “Both the optimist and the pessimist contribute to society. The optimist invented the airplane; the pessimist invented the parachute.”

    I think the problem many of us have with the so-called “skeptic” community is that to truly be scientific skepticism, there must be some empirical basis or valid theoretical reservation that underlies the skepticism. It is becoming harder and harder to find a valid empirical or theoretical basis for skepticism. There is no evidence that contradicts the anthropogenic hypothesis–at most there are some phenomena where the evidence is ambiguous. There is no other credible explanation that can cite strong evidence in its favor. Anthropogenic causation is based on well understood and established science, while no alternative mechanism is even truly worthy of the term mechanism. We know that the underlying cause of anthropogenic causation is indeed present and increasing rapidly, while there is no similar evidence for any competing mechansim.

    So the question then becomes on what does one base continued skepticism? If it is just that the physics is not sufficiently clear in your mind, then perhaps you might want to look at what sort of statement you would feel comfotable. For instance, would you feel comfortable with the statement:
    Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have contributed significantly to the current warming epoch.

  6. 356
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Matt, Re 350. Then the issue you have is that you don’t understand the physics well enough to see that climate science is mature and in fact well understood. Look at the following graph:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/
    Add up the forcings–almost all the uncertainty is in the contributions of aerosols. The contributions of ghgs are pretty much nailed down. So, even if there is something the climate models are missing, it will most likely affect the forcers that contribute NEGATIVELY to the climate. The overall forcing due to GHG will stay the same. Look, Matt, I’m not a climate scientist. I have no dog in this fight. In fact, if anything, it would be in my interest if climate change weren’t a problem. However, I’ve looked at the physics and I can find no empirical or theoretical basis for a contention that climate change isn’t occurring, that we aren’t causing it or that it won’t be a significant problem. And I find lots of evidence to the contrary. And I am not alone. That is why there is now not a single professional society that disputes the scientific consensus that humans are causing the current warming epoch. Think about that: Even the American Association of Petroleum Geologists has dropped its opposition.

  7. 357
    matt says:

    #347: Re: 345. Matt, have you ever looked into what goes into forecasting hurricanes? There you are dealing with a chaotic–and very complex–system. You are looking at extremes of what weather can produce, and we’ve never been good at forecasting extremes. It is an art, not a science. Climate science on the other hand is much less ambitious–it looks at average behavior.

    I don’t care what goes into forecasting hurricanes. The 85% confidence figure provided by the hurricane experts is supposed to wrap all the nasty stuff into a pretty box with a bow for me, the non-expert. If it’s really as hard and random as you indicate, then I don’t see how they can possibly state with 85% confidence. Of course, flipping a coin puts me at 50%, and Uncle Frank’s bursitis probably hits 60%, so there’s not much room their for an expert to scratch out a living unless they are constantly claiming 80% or higher.

    Remember my previous post above: There is little downside to experts over-forecasting doom. If they are right, it makes the next time even easier. If they are wrong, it’s easy to shrug it off on the nightly news: “I’ll be honest with you Katie, we never factored in Event XYZ in our simple models from last year, and as we refine our models, it looks like Event XYZ let us dodge a bullet this time. I cannot tell you how pleased we are to be wrong this time.” Note this works for meteors, interest rates, global temps, gas and milk prices, etc. Does not work for wars, however, that last more than 8 months.

    If NOAA 20 year track record with 85% confidence predictions is 75% or less, then they are BS artists, and they typify the expert opinion I distrust. If it’s 75% or better, then we chalk this up to some good luck that defied the experts. This is why I asked if anyone has actually looked at the track record.

  8. 358

    Finally, regarding your comment: “for my money it is far and away one of the most serious/scientific climate warming blog out there.” Be careful – as Thomas Lee Elifritz has informed us, “science is not an authoritarian betting game.”

    Indeed it isn’t, but it does appear to have become a commercial (free) enterprise.

  9. 359
    Hank Roberts says:

    Sorry, the first parachutes were rigid framed, rather like square hang gliders.
    Talk about optimism!

  10. 360
    SecularAnimist says:

    Rod B wrote: “There are many credible scientists who have doubts about AGW, at least in part.”

    No, in fact there are not many credible scientists who have doubts about AGW.

    Human activities, principally the burning of fossil fuels but also including deforestation, agriculture, etc., are releasing large quantities of carbon dioxide, methane and other “greenhouse gases” into the Earth’s atmosphere. The increasing concentration of these gases in the atmosphere is causing the Earth to heat up. The warming of the Earth is causing changes in the climate as well as in the biosphere, some of which changes will reinforce the anthropogenic warming. The basic science underlying all of this is unassailable and empirical observation confirms that the changes to the Earth predicted by the basic science are indeed occurring now, although more rapidly than expected. The changes to the Earth’s climate and biosphere that anthropogenic warming is highly likely to cause will pose serious dangers to the lives and well-being of billions of people. Some of these changes are probably inevitable, given the persistent warming effect from the CO2 we have already added to the atmosphere. We have relatively little time, perhaps no more than a decade, in which to halt and reverse the accelerating growth in GHG emissions, and perhaps a few decades in which to reduce those emissions by 50 to 80 percent worldwide, in order to avoid the most severe warming and most severely harmful changes to the climate and biosphere.

    There are few if any “credible scientists” who have any doubts about any of that.

  11. 361
    Petro says:

    According to my observations, there are at least following reasons to deny AGW:

    1) scientific
    2) economic
    3) political
    4) religious
    5) psychological

    Rational discussion can affect only to those whose doubt it based on scientific evidence. If the denialism is based even partially on some other reason, rational discussion is fruitless. Those who deny reality will not change their views through that written argumentation blogs offer.

    Unfortunately, the denialists in blogosphere do not belong to group 1.

  12. 362
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Re 357. Matt, another example–going from “Some experts are bullshit artists” to “All experts are bullshit artists”. And without even considering the motivations of the experts–which in this case would be to not underpredict the severity of the season. As long as they overpredict, all that happens is a few individuals bitch about their accuracy. If they underpredict, FEMA doesn’t have enough assets and they have to buy a new wardrobe so they can testify in front of Congress. Matt, I’ll say it again–your problem is that you don’t know enough to know who you can and cannot trust. You may even have a bigger problem–resorting to cynicism to justify complacency in remedying your ignorance, but that remains to be seen.

  13. 363
    matt says:

    #355: So the question then becomes on what does one base continued skepticism?

    Time is a critical factor in removing skepticism. How long did it take to wind through all the various credible explainations for light propagation? 300 years? And when was the actual speed of light measured with any accuracy (less than 10% error)? Late 1800s? When did subsequent experiments validate that with similar yet improved numbers (less than 2% error)?

    Where is our understanding of CO2 sensitivity? What is the most rigorous derivation to date? Is the largely the same as the most rigorous derivation 20 years ago? Have all these different approaches to understanding CO2 sensitivity delivered results within a few % of each other? No? A factor of 2-3X? What? What is the experimental equivalent of carrying an atomic clock on a jet?

  14. 364
    Timothy Chase says:

    matt (#350) said in rsponse to Ray Ladbury…

    Bingo. We’ve just reached a common understanding after thousands of words. I’m thrilled that you have at some point in your life thought it important and healthy to question motive when weighing the opinion of experts.

    Matt,

    Trust in experts, organizations, evidence, theories and even one’s own judgment should always be measured. This is simply a fact of the human condition resulting from the basic nature of the individual’s cognitive relationship with reality. However, in human cognition and communication, identification should always precede evaluation and in dealing with others one should begin with the assumption that they are being honest until one has sufficient evidence to the contrary.

    matt (#350) wrote:

    Make no mistake, I’m not for the status quo. If it were up to me, September 12 would be remembered as the day we kicked off an initiative to get 85% of our energy production over to nuclear and 95% of our annual auto miles powered by electricity. But it wouldn’t because I was worried about CO2…

    With regard to the conclusions of mainstream science, while its conclusions are always tentative, the evidence is cummulative and in the case of the fundamentals of our understanding of the greenhouse effect, the role which carbon dioxide has played in the Earth’s climate system overwhelming.

    We have over a century’s worth of laboratory experience with the absorption and emission properties in the infrared spectrum of both carbon dioxide and water vapor. We have precise laboratory experiments in which over a million absorption lines from various gases have been measured then stored the HiTran database.

    We have infrared imaging of the radiative properties of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at over 2000 channels by means of satellites. We have infrared measurements of upwelling and downwelling thermal radiation at the surface, from balloons and aircraft.

    We have a nearly continuous paleoclimate record of the relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature over the past 400,000 years. We are able to identify how high levels of carbon dioxide were directly responsible for four out of the five greatest extinctions in the earth’s history due to its greenhouse effect.

    Which aspect of this are you having difficulty with?

    I assume you have no difficulty with the fact that the Earth is round or that you are using your eyes as your the words that I have written. Nevertheless even this cannot be demonstrated with absolute certainty.

    Why are you treating the role played by carbon dioxide in the Earth’s climate system any differently?

  15. 365
    dhogaza says:

    Matt said:

    NOAA predicted there was only a 5% chance this year that hurricanes would be below normal. And they forecast an 85% chance that it would be above normal.

    Of course these opinions come from a “consensus of scientists at the NOAA”.

    Season isn’t over yet, but it looks like expert opinion over the last two years here was way wrong.

    Wikipedia says that the pre-season forecast by NOAA was for between 13 and 17 named storms in the Atlantic basin this season.

    Thus far, there have been 13 named storms.

    The season lasts until November 30th.

    Perhaps Matt does arithmetic differently, but it looks like to me that the NOAA forecast is holding up nicely.

    Also the average number of named storms in the Atlantic basin is about 10. So far, we have had 13 with some weeks to go in the season.

    Matt says that the NOAA forecast that there was an 85% chance that this year would be above normal was wrong.

    Ummm, how?

  16. 366
    Majorajam says:

    matt,

    A good analogy for Ray’s point is price behavior in an economy. In particular, if a monetary authority increases liquidity or acquiesces in the increase of liquidity (ehem) far beyond what is called for by expansion of the real economy at potential, the additional stimulus will eventually result in an increase in the price level. That much anyone would be confident to predict (especially if liquidity were as easy to measure as CO2). However, how that manifests itself is totally beyond the capacity of forecasters to predict. Historically, the labor market was the bottleneck, but dynamics and dependencies change- at the moment, it appears increasingly to be natural resources. In any case, the more granularly one looks, the more the (often times inexplicable) variability in price moves the more difficult is attribution.

    In the same way, if you alter the radiative physics of the planet by increasing GHG concentrations in the upper atmosphere, it will heat up, but where and how are far more difficult to forecast (for many of the same reasons that hurricanes are difficult to forecast). And when I say must, I am saying that if your engineer knew the subject well, the probability he’d assign would have a multitude of significant nines.

    It is probably worth your while to articulate more directly who or what it is you are against or for rather than pointing out the issues with experts, or the expert witness. These are not sufficient as ultimately you will have to explain either why you think a particular expert or group of experts are more likely to be right, or argue the science yourself. As I see it, those currently occupying the ‘skeptic’ universe are far more likely to be wrong because it is clear from their actions that their arguments are changing, as they are blown out of the sky in succession, while their position stays the same. In my experience, that type of behavior in argument does not allign itself well with merit.

  17. 367
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    Petro Says:
    “matt answered to #321 SecularAnimist: “You would lose that bet. NO “world experts” believed that “Iraq had nukes.” Yes, you are right, I mistyped. Substitute WMD for nukes.”

    You lose that bet as well.”

    No he doesn’t — not at all.

    =====================

    This might help clarify a few things in this regard:

    http://middleeastreference.org.uk/iraqweapons.html

  18. 368
    Timothy Chase says:

    Ray Ladbury (#356) wrote:

    Matt, Re 350. Then the issue you have is that you don’t understand the physics well enough to see that climate science is mature and in fact well understood. Look at the following graph:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/

    Ray, you have my gratitude!

    That webpage is linked to:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/RadF.txt

    … which gives the estimated forcings since 1880 from which Hansen et al (2007) made the graphs for 1880-2003. It shows that according to NASA best estimates the forcing of anthropogenic greenhouse gases relative to 1880 have exceeded the positive forcing of solar variability for all but 1881 up to this present day and that forcing due to CO2 has exceeded every other forcing since the 1970s.

    While I have the data thanks to a link posted by Tamino in 2006 and the internet wayback machine, the page at the original location had been taken down and I wasn’t sure that it would be appropriate to give the link by wayback since it had been taken down. Now I can point people to the data rather than just the charts.

  19. 369
    Majorajam says:

    Eeek. matt, take a breather. No one is forecasting doom. What we have is a lot of good evidence and scientific work showing that AGW is a fact and that it could become a serious problem if we take a Pollyanna, ‘all will be fine regardless’, stance and continue business as usual. That sounds to me more like a diagnosis of syphilis than doom. Not to mention, the idea that a prediction is less credible simply because it’s not to our tastes (convenient?) is not consistent with good decision making- for more on this point, see the invasion of Iraq.

    You continue to assert motive and bias but provide not one iota of backing for that. You also seem to think that the only reason a scientist wouldn’t take a few million from the oil lobby was hate for big oil. Now, I don’t suppose the concept of integrity to science is something you value, but I’m here to say that scientists do, (given that their wages would be much higher in the private sector, why do you suppose they choose to stay in academia?). That you’re trying to reduce them to radical activists is inane. Please the court, if you have an argument available, feel free to make it.

  20. 370
    J.C.H. says:

    Regardless of inaccuracy, Matt’s post about NOAA and hurricane forecasting “inaccuracies” not reasonably reducing ones confidence in climate models (and the experts hiding behind them), this site could really use a more user friendly post on why they are not similar things, because the public definitely thinks a climate model is a gizmo or two glued on that proverbially inaccurate weather forecasting program.

  21. 371
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Matt re: 363.

    And speaking of bullshit… You know you can look this stuff up:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_light

    1728–“[James] Bradley calculated the speed of light as about 298,000 kilometres per second (185,000 miles per second). This is only slightly less than the currently accepted value.”

    Meanwhile back on Earth, Fizeau measured 313,000 kilometres per second, within 5% of the accepted value in 1849. Foucault improved the accuracy to better than 1% by 1862.

    Now, re greenouse forcing:
    “Radiative forcing is measured in units of Watts per square meter. A doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations, for example, will cause an imbalance of approximately 3.7 W/m[4]2. The total forcing from all anthropogenic greenhouse gases, as compared to pre-industrial times, is presently (~ year 2000) about 2.7 W/m2, with an offset of perhaps half this amount from aerosol cooling (see below)[5]. The radiative forcing caused by carbon dioxide is known to within about 1%. Uncertainties for the other important greenhouse gases are 5-10%, with higher uncertainties for some halocarbons.[4,6},”

    Have you bothered to look into any of this? Or are you just bullshitting?

  22. 372
    Majorajam says:

    J.S. McIntyre,

    There’s more. Robert Novak, whom as we well know by now has many sources in the GOP, has been quoted on a number of occasions as saying that the Bush administration was aware of there being no WMD in Iraq before the war- not just nuclear, but the whole kit and caboodle. The extent to which this awareness was based on French intelligence- who had a highly credible source in the Hussein regime- is not clear. In any case, the inspectors knew, the coalition knew- everyone knew. Except the public that is. Ok, I’m off the off topic…

  23. 373
    Timothy Chase says:

    matt (#363) wrote:

    Where is our understanding of CO2 sensitivity? What is the most rigorous derivation to date? Is the largely the same as the most rigorous derivation 20 years ago? Have all these different approaches to understanding CO2 sensitivity delivered results within a few % of each other? No? A factor of 2-3X? What? What is the experimental equivalent of carrying an atomic clock on a jet?

    Matt, climate sensitivity is complex as it is in large part dependent upon various climate feedbacks including those from the cryosphere and even the effects of the location of the continents. However, our best estimate has been roughly 3 C since the 1960s, and since 2006 it has been known that extensive data from the paleoclimate record strongly supports a figure of 3 C for the short-term climate sensitivity.

    Please see:

    Using multiple observationally-based constraints to estimate climate sensitivity
    J. D. Annan and J. C. Hargreaves
    FRCGC/JAMSTEC, Yokohama, Japan
    Geophysical Research Letters, VOL. 33, L06704, doi:10.1029/2005GL025259, 2006
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2005GL025259.shtml
    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d5/jdannan/GRL_sensitivity.pdf

    Thursday, March 02, 2006
    Climate sensitivity is 3C
    by James Annan
    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2006/03/climate-sensitivity-is-3c.html

    Long-term (the equilibrium value after centuries) is more likely 6 C according to Jim Hansen – although the latter figure would seem less certain.

  24. 374
    Timothy Chase says:

    Majorajam (#366) wrote:

    matt,

    A good analogy for Ray’s point is price behavior in an economy….

    Austrian School? Ludwig Von Mises? Rational Expectation Theory? Incidentally, I wrote a paper quite a few years ago during a course devoted largely to the ideas of Keynes in which I did a detailed analysis of the effects of artificially expanding either the money supply or credit supply upon the (im)balance long-term vs. short-term investment and how the resulting recessions are the process through which the free market and pricing system corrects for the malinvestments.

    … so in any case — I approve.

  25. 375
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    re 372

    Okay, my last mention of this subject:

    http://www.amconmag.com/12_1_03/feature.html

  26. 376
  27. 377
    Rod B says:

    richard (353) says:
    “348 “1)There are many credible scientists who have doubts about AGW, at least in part.”

    I am not sure if it was your intention to mislead, but I believe most climate scientists accept that AGW is a fact. That does not mean they do not have doubts about the extent of the warming as expressed by IPCC or about what can or should be done about it; after all there is always uncertainty. You seem to be implying that there are a substantial number of climatologists who, based on peer-reviewed science, can make a strong case that AGW is not occurring. I don’t believe that is the case.”

    There are a few or more than a few climate scientists, but when I said “many scientists” I meant all (probably related) fields. Now don’t come back and say they don’t count. We’ve already been all over that (and which was my central point in #348). If a scientist has doubts, then by definition he can not be credible. Check out SecularAnimist’s #360 as a good example.

    richard (353) further says:
    “2) There is a large number of AGW bloggers who consign those scientists, and most sceptics, to the trash pile ”

    In fact, bloggers on both sides of the issue can be accused of that; sceptic sites in my view are far less tolerant (perhaps because they have less peer-reviewed data to support their position). As far as AGW blogs are concerned, I think that one tends to lose one’s temper when sceptic arguments that heve been shown to have dubious facts to support them are nonetheless brought forward again and again.”

    I agree with that, with a couple of nuances. One, sceptic sites might or might not be less tolerant; but I admit they do seem to be more smart-assed. Second: your last sentence depends. I’ve been in that boat here on RC and many responders have seriously worked with me trying to overcome my skepticism with science without losing their temper. In a lot of areas they were not successful, but I bowed out after a while to do more research, recognizing that they certainly would eventually get tired of me, and they have no obligation to spend their valuable time working with me. On the other side, and my main point in #348 (again) is that others lose their temper at the mere mention of “sceptic” because in their mind sceptics have no place at the table de facto, just because they’re sceptics. I admit some of my “fellow” sceptics deserve it. But I’ve seen many, including here on RC, that raise logical sounding points, and they, not their arguments, just get creamed.

  28. 378
    Rod B says:

    re Chuck (354)

    Any economist worth his salt can make any economic prediction case he chooses. And no, I’m not accusing anyone of skullduggery.

    re “…Thomas Lee Elifritz has informed us, “science is not an authoritarian betting game.”

    I’m not sure I get the meaning, but I certainly agree!

  29. 379
    Majorajam says:

    Timothy,

    That’s good to hear- I’m a big fan of approval. Just ask mother. I take it you’re an economist? Would be interested to see your paper. I am a mere practitioner whose belief is in the power of asset prices, so I’d say that Keynes, Tobin & Minsky most closely resemble my influences. However you get there, (bubbles & animal spirits or simple monetarist fractional banking math), it’s fair to say that a) changes in credit activity drive economic activity as much as they are driven by it and b) only so much demand growth is consistent with stability in the price level, (unless firms actually set their prices according to changes in Fed policy as according to some of the more obtuse applications of rational expectations). Interestingly enough, a) is also an echo of the CO2 causality (growth in credit/C02 concentration is both caused by and cause growth in demand/temperature). It’s full of rhythm this world, isn’t it?

  30. 380
    Rod B says:

    Ray (355): I would be totally comfortable with the statement, “Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have likely contributed to the current warming epoch.” I added the qualifier “likely”, though I’d be comfortable with highly likely, even very highly likely; I removed “significantly”, though that is probably not far off my comfort level.

    The crux of my issue is: 1) questions on how certain aspects of the science works, and 2) the validity of future projections. But I don’t want to be specific. As I mentioned in earlier posts, the ball is in my court to better support my own scepticism, and I don’t want to belabor RC by rehashing it again at this time. But I will toss out one example. In the face of “the science is mature and about as absolute as possible”, I recently went through a lengthy discourse (with you being one of the players) trying to understand the raw basic physics of radiation absorption and emission in gasses. It is clear that this fundemental question has no definitive complete consensus answer (actually a lot of definitive but differing explanations). I have some difficulty buying AGW as an absolute mature science when one of its fundemental physics basis has a pile of uncertainty and disagreement.

    True, my skepticism does not disprove AGW (not even close), but I also do not think that is my onus (and the chorus of disagreement to that is well known.)

  31. 381
    Timothy Chase says:

    Majorajam (#379) wrote:

    That’s good to hear- I’m a big fan of approval. Just ask mother. I take it you’re an economist? Would be interested to see your paper. I am a mere practitioner whose belief is in the power of asset prices, so I’d say that Keynes, Tobin & Minsky most closely resemble my influences.

    Actually I am a physics geek who went into the Navy, majored in philosophy, became interested in economics and history, turned coder who became obsessed with evolutionary biology, retroelements and phages and is now concerned with anthropogenic global warming. The paper was only for an undergraduate course and perhaps five pages tops. My big papers critique Descartes’ Six Meditations, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and critically analyze early twentieth century empiricism. Eighty pages each.

    Not that fond of Keynes — but I doubt I ever knew him as well as I might have thought at one time. Don’t know about Tobin or Minsky. However, I tend think that there are valuable insights to be found even in the views that I am otherwise strongly opposed to. And my opposition to Keynes wouldn’t go quite that far. Even the academic Marxists were able to turn lead in to gold sometimes — which is impressive — given what they had to work with.

    Reality?

    Rhythm and richness. A gem to be turned and peered into for its refracted and reflected light.

  32. 382
    Rod B says:

    Majorajam says (372): “…everyone knew. Except the public that is. Ok, I’m off the off topic…”

    Thank goodness…

  33. 383
    Rafael Gomez-Sjoberg says:

    Rod B. (#379) wrote:

    I recently went through a lengthy discourse (with you being one of the players) trying to understand the raw basic physics of radiation absorption and emission in gasses. It is clear that this fundemental question has no definitive complete consensus answer (actually a lot of definitive but differing explanations).

    Rod,
    the discussions you have had here about radiation absorption and emission in gases were all with people that are not real experts in the field. While a lot of posters here are very knowledgeable about physics, chemistry, and other areas relevant to climate science, none of them is a real expert on some of the details you seem to be criticizing. NOTE: I’m talking about the people that post comments, like Ray ladbury, Timothy Chase, etc, *not* the authors of the blog (Gavin and Co.). And, even if some poster here was a real expert, the only way to fully understand what’s going on is by sitting down with pen and paper and going through a lot of diagrams and equations in most cases. If you have the necessary background in mathematics and physics you can educate yourself by finding the relevant books in a university library near your home. You cannot judge the state of science on a topic like radiation physics by your discussions with non-experts in a web blog.

    There are whole books on the subject and hundreds if not thousands of papers dealing with the different aspects of radiation emission/absorption in gases, and most other basic physical and chemical phenomena included in climate models. If you are not willing to trust that reputable scientists know what they are talking about in most cases, you will have to bite the bullet and study these details yourself using the original sources (scientific books and papers).

    Again, the understanding of the science exhibited by the readers’ comments in these pages is in no way reflective of the true scientific consensus among the experts on the subject. For a real look at the consensus you will have to go to the original sources: the IPCC reports, academic books, and papers published in reputable scientific journals.

  34. 384
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Rod B. said “It is clear that this fundemental question has no definitive complete consensus answer… ”

    Don’t confuse the confusion of a physicist (me) trying to remember back to stat mech 25 years ago with a lack of a consensus answer. Look at Landau and Lifshitz on blackbody–that’s about as consensus as it gets. Ray Pierrehumbert could rattle of the physics in his sleep. That’s why it’s important that those active in the field establish the consensus.

  35. 385
    matt says:

    #365 dhogaza:Thus far, there have been 13 named storms…

    Named storms isn’t what matters. That is rather arbitrary. The key is the ACE, or accumulated cyclone energy index. ACE for the year so far is under 70, while the average since 1851 is 95 (median is 88). My understanding is the ACE is figured first, then the number of named storms is figured from that. What NOAA predicted is that ACE would be 125% to 250% of the median. They estimated a 5% chance that ACE would be below the median.

    This is a major forecasting failure for a second year in a row. Again, I don’t fault them. I use it merely to point out how often experts assign rediculous confidence levels to things they just can’t be that confident about.

  36. 386
    matt says:

    #368 Timothy: … which gives the estimated forcings

    I’m not referring to radiative forcings. I encountered those years ago in my climate readings and accept those. I am referring to climate sensitivity. The Annan paper you referenced in another post is fantastic. Thanks for that.

    And yes, I just have to smile to myself that Hansen is now getting ready to talk about a “long term” CO2 sensitivity of 6’C. :)

  37. 387
    matt says:

    Ray, I don’t think you answered my second hypothetical in #333: What % of top climate scientists would work for Big Oil Inc if Big Oil Inc paid a $3M/year salary and said “study whatever you wish, publish whatever you wish, here’s a bucket of money for research”

    I really am interested in the answer.

  38. 388
    Hank Roberts says:

    Matt, that’s a classic example of an empirical question.

    You recognize one when you see one, right? Any engineer should.

    The way to find out is to arrange for it to happen and count the results. Do your best to test it. Find out if it’s possible to answer.

    Else you’re like those philosophers in the tavern arguing about how many teeth horses have, relying on what they recall Aristotle said. Or worse, you’re arguing how many angels can dance on the head of the pin.

    First, look in the horse’s mouth. Find the pin and the angels.

    Count for something.

  39. 389
    Mary C says:

    Re 348, 377, 380. My original post in response to Rod’s 348 has never appeared. Lost? Moderated and deleted? Whatever, I’ll try again and hope it makes it this time.

    Rod – You still haven’t answered the question of what credible scientists? Who are they? I keep hearing about “lots of credible scientists” who disagree with/deny AGW, not just from you but almost every time there’s a response somewhere by someone who claims that AGW is a bogus idea. But no one ever seems to say who these mysterious scientists are except for Gray, Linzden, and perhaps one or two others, and their arguments are regularly responded to here on RC and at various other places. You claim these “many credible scientists” are “readily apparent”. Well, not to me. I can’t find them. The folks who signed the first OISM letter (the ones who actually are scientists and not fictional characters, of course) cannot be counted unless they 1) are climate scientists (and almost none, if any, are), 2) are not climate scientists but are scientists whose discipline is relevant to climate science and who have somewhere demonstrated that they have some specific level of knowledge about something relevant to climate science that throws a monkey wrench into the whole shebang, or 3) are not climate scientists but are scientists who have shown they have an in-depth understanding of the research and the results and can specifically indicate where something is wrong or missing or off-base. The simple fact that someone is a scientist does not give him or her more than the tiniest bit of credibility to comment on something as complex as climate science. But I simply cannot find the “many credible scientists” in spite of the fact that you claim they are “readily apparent” and the fact that they are regularly cited by politicians and pundits speaking against AGW. And, no, making the claim that “providing a list is an exercise in futility” because “a large number of AGW bloggers … consign those scientists, and most sceptics, to the trash pile by simply defining them away” doesn’t cut it. I don’t buy that for a minute, and I consider it a cop-out. If they exist, tell all of us who are working really hard to understand the situation WHO THEY ARE so we can check them out for ourselves.

    Similarly, I would really, really love to have some evidence for the claim that “plowing full speed ahead on mitigation will also create tremendous hardships for great throng”. What hardships? What great throngs? How? This is another claim that gets made ad nauseum but that no one ever seems able to explain or back up. It seems to me that unless you can at least make an effort to do, it would behoove you to stop making the claim because it is nothing more than some “feeling” you have about the whole thing or you have bought into someone else’s claim without giving it even a bit of critical thinking.

    Along those lines, I recorded “Polar Apocalypse” on Naked Science and watched it tonight. One of the segments they showed was about Bhutan, a mountain kingdom that has 27,000 glacial lakes. These lakes are created by debris dams where the glaciers stopped their advance. As the glaciers recede and melt, the water can put so much strain on the dams that they burst and send walls of water down the valleys and gorges, destroying villages and killing people. These floods were happening about once every ten years in the 1940s and 1950s. They’ve now increased to one every three years. The estimate is that they will increase to one every year by 2010. Okay, so maybe the glaciers aren’t receding and melting because of AGW. And then again, maybe they are. If so, I would say that harm is already here, and the longer it takes us to “plow full speed ahead” in efforts to mitigate AGW, the more people will be victims.

  40. 390
    matt says:

    #388 Hank Roberts: Matt, that’s a classic example of an empirical question.

    You recognize one when you see one, right? Any engineer should

    Hypothetical questions usually have a barrier of absurdity you must first overcome to deliver an answer. I don’t believe that an oil company would EVER pay a group of folks to study and write about whatever they wish. So, rather than inviting Ray to answer “it’d never happen, so I’m not even going to answer it” I opted to frame it as hypothetical.

    Of course, to research it as suggested I’d have to work for an oil company, convince them it’d be worthwhile, and have a $50 to $100M budget at hand. I hate to dissappoint, but none of those are true. Ergo…]

    I can tell you what I think the result would be. That without any strings attached 95% would take it. With the restriction that you cannot publish anything negative, 50% would take it. To simply get a PhD I’d venture to guess most have already made some sort of intellectual compromise with a professor at some point along the line. I believe most all humans would slightly (20%) overstate a case to help a cause they really, really believed in and thought important to the human race without thinking twice about it. Roll those two together, add in financial freedom, add in a promise to yourself that “after I have the first $10M, I’ll quit and use you money for good” and you are there. Now, most SAY they wouldn’t take it. I’ll grant you that.

  41. 391
    Timothy Chase says:

    matt (#386) wrote:

    #368 Timothy: “… which gives the estimated forcings”

    I’m not referring to radiative forcings. I encountered those years ago in my climate readings and accept those.

    Honestly 368 was a thank you to Ray Ladbury – regarding the estimated forcings.

    There are times at which I will point out that the climate forcing of anthropogenic greenhouse gases has exceeded that of solar variability for all but one year since 1880 – as required by the context. It was an element I made use of in point 4 of comment 133 – but I would have liked to include a link to a legitimate source for the actual numerical data from the web. Now I can.

    matt (#386) wrote:

    I am referring to climate sensitivity. The Annan paper you referenced in another post is fantastic. Thanks for that.

    I was pretty happy when I ran into that myself. And I bring up that article fairly often as well — whether I give the link or not.

    matt (#386) wrote:

    And yes, I just have to smile to myself that Hansen is now getting ready to talk about a “long term” CO2 sensitivity of 6′C.

    Well, he explains it — boundary conditions. What the short-run climate sensitivity assumes is constant isn’t.

    From one of his most recent papers, this is what he has to say about the short-run sensitivity:

    Hansen et al. (1993) calculated the ice age forcing due to surface albedo change to be 3.5 +/- Wm^-2. The total surface and atmospheric forcings led Hansen et al. (1993) to infer an equilibrium global climate sensitivity of 3 +/- 1C for doubled CO2 forcing, equivalent to 3/4 +/- 1/4 CW^-1 m^-2. This empirical climate sensitivity corresponds to the Charney (1979) definition of climate sensitivity, in which ‘fast feedback’ processes are allowed to operate, but long-lived atmospheric gases, ice sheet area, land area and vegetation cover are fixed forcings. Fast feedbacks include changes of water vapour, clouds, climate-driven aerosols1, sea ice and snow cover. This empirical result for the ‘Charney’ climate sensitivity agrees well with that obtained by climate models (IPCC 2001).

    Hansen, J., Mki. Sato, P. Kharecha, G. Russell, D.W. Lea, and M. Siddall, 2007: Climate change and trace gases. Phil. Trans. Royal. Soc. A, 365, 1925-1954, doi:10.1098/rsta.2007.2052
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/2007/Hansen_etal_2.html
    pg. 1929

    (Notice: for the short-run he was using 3 +/-1 C back in 1993. As I said, its been around for a while, and actually goes back to back-of-the-envelope calculations involving a volcanic eruption in the 1960s.)

    Now here is the long-run and why:

    Real world climate response differs from this idealized case in two ways. First, response on decadal time-scales is much less than the fast-feedback equilibrium response. Half of the equilibrium response is obtained in 30 years, but, as the climate response function (figure 7b) shows, the other half requires a millennium. Second, assumption of fixed surface properties (vegetation cover and ice sheet area) becomes invalid long before equilibrium is achieved.

    Climate sensitivity with surface properties free to change (but with GHG specified as a forcing, a choice relevant to the twenty-first century) is defined in figure 1, which reveals Antarctic temperature increase of 3 C (Wm^-2)^-1. Global temperature change is about half that in Antarctica, so this equilibrium global climate sensitivity is 1.5 C (Wm^-2)^-1, double the fast-feedback (Charney) sensitivity.

    ibid, pg 1944

    Hope this helps…

  42. 392
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Matt, if the money truly came with no strings attached, I think most researchers would take it. However, the energy interests have done a lot to poison the well. The fact of the matter is that most researchers are more interested in their research than they are in getting rich. I am a great frustration to my financial advosor because although I understand and follow economics, econophysics…, I can’t be bothered to take an interest in my investment portfolio as it would take too much time away from my research.

    As to your question about forcing, the consensus is 3-4 degrees per doubling. Hansen is asking the question: How bad can it be? That’s certainly a valid and necessary question, particularly when you are trying to allocate resources for mitigation.

    Finally on hurricanes: No wonder you are disillusioned with experts, as you lump them all together with no regard for the difficulty of their field of expertise, political pressures, etc. It would seem that you want to make pronouncements and have them taken seriously without doing the necessary homework to ensure that your opinion is on solid ground.

    Hank,
    Actually the question of how many angels could dance on the head of a pin was at one time in the Middle Ages a critical question of metaphysics. Essentially, there were two possible answers–finite and infinite–corresponding to whether angels had physical, corporeal existence or were purely spiritual with no physical manifestation. It was essentially an argument of whether angels were fermions or bosons.

  43. 393

    [[ My point was very simple. 1)There are many credible scientists who have doubts about AGW, at least in part.]]

    I don’t agree with your point. I don’t think it’s correct. But even if it were true, what matters is not how many scientists don’t accept it, but what percentage of climate scientists do accept it. If 99% of the biologists in the world didn’t believe in AGW but 99% of the climatologists did, I’d go with the climatologists — because it’s their field.

  44. 394

    [[ I recently went through a lengthy discourse (with you being one of the players) trying to understand the raw basic physics of radiation absorption and emission in gasses. It is clear that this fundemental question has no definitive complete consensus answer (actually a lot of definitive but differing explanations).]]

    That is not at all “clear.” Radiation physics is an extremely well understood field. The fact that you don’t get something, or even that most posters on this blog don’t get something, does not mean that the scientists who work with it don’t get it.

  45. 395
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Matt, re 390. I can only conclude that you don’t know any actual scientists. Most are not motivated by money as much as they are by curiosity. Couple that with the fact that if a scientist took money under the constraints you first outlined, their scientific reputation would be destroyed and their career in science would be over. Even with no restrictions, as I said, energy interests have done much to poison the well with the scientific community in recent years. It is quite possible that many if not most would reject the money even with no strings attached just to avoid the appearance of taint.

    Matt, scientists are smart folks. Most of them have had more than a few opportunities to make a whole helluva lot more than they are currently making. They could become patent lawyers or take an MBA and become scientific managers and double or triple their salary easily. Hedge fund managers would gladly pay some of these guys very well to analyze markets (indeed, some do).
    I have many interests: history, philosophy, economics, geology… Hell, I almost switched majors from physics to psychology in my senior year. I chose physics because no amount of money I was likely to make would allow me to pursue my interests in physics, and physics allowed me to understand the world around me more than any other field. (It has also given me ample opportunity to practice psychology, but that’s beside the point.) Science allows students to glimpse beauty in the world that remains hidden from most peoples’ eyes. It tells you that you can understand that beauty and then lays down a very strict code that you must follow or be excluded from the realm of science. Once glimpsed, the thought of violating that code and being banished is paradise lost. Or rather, to reverse the myth: Once a scientist has tasted of the fruit of knowledge, he or she is likely to conclude that the loss of paradise may have been worth it after all.

  46. 396

    [[This is a major forecasting failure for a second year in a row. Again, I don’t fault them. I use it merely to point out how often experts assign rediculous confidence levels to things they just can’t be that confident about.]]

    If they predict an 85% chance, that means they can be completely wrong one year out of seven. Two bad predictions in a row mean almost nothing, because a sample size of two is practically meaningless.

    Why don’t you find the NOAA predictions and the actual figures recorded for 1977 through 2006? Graph them on the same scale. Find the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (r) between the two series. Calculate the t-statistic (t) from r, and find the significance (p) from t.

  47. 397
    Petro says:

    Barton responded to Matt:

    “Why don’t you find the NOAA predictions and the actual figures recorded for 1977 through 2006? Graph them on the same scale. Find the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (r) between the two series. Calculate the t-statistic (t) from r, and find the significance (p) from t.”

    Because that would require real work, and that is unheard among denialists.

  48. 398
    Hank Roberts says:

    Matt, I was one who pointed out several times in the thread that all of us in that thread poking at finding language about radiation physics were not the experts, all of us posting in that were readers here. I recall saying I hoped one of the experts would look in, several times, to see if our words were approximations of the physics, given the physics requires math to express.

    You are misrepresenting the conversation, or playing dumb about it.

    You kept asking people to explain this in words, ignoring the fact that expertise in radiation physics takes graduate level math.

    Your saying nobody in the field understands it is like footnoting your research source as “guy I met in a bar.”

  49. 399
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    re 392:

    “Matt, if the money truly came with no strings attached, I think most researchers would take it. However, the energy interests have done a lot to poison the well.”

    =================

    They have indeed, and Matt’s arguement is counterintuitive in the sense that independent research is just that: independent, meaning no strings (restrictions) attached.

    But he does have a point in the sense that what is happening in the real world of research appears to suggest that scientists do seek out money to do their research, but not necessarily for the motives or to the ends Matt might infer, particularly not in relation to the motives of scientists raising the alarm re AGW or other issues that can be seen as anti-corporate growth in nature and result.

    The problem, which I’m sure many are well aware of, appears to be privitization of research. IN a recent article in Discover (yes, I know there is a ceratin distain for the so-called pop-sci mags voiced on this site, but bear with me), it was shown that in 1965, the Federal Government funded 60% of all research. Now that figure has dropped to around 35%.

    Here’s an example why:

    ================
    “Early this year, BP (formerly British Petroleum) announced it was signing the largest proposed academia-industry research alliance in U.S. history: a 10-year, $500 million agreement with UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study biofuels and the production of genetically modified crops that might improve their energy efficiency. As of this writing, the deal is still being negotiated. However, according to Berkeley’s official proposal, released in early March, the deal is unusual in many respects. First, it is huge, spanning roughly 25 labs at three campuses. Second, it permits 50 BP employees to lease commercial research space on campus, side by side with Berkeley’s traditional academic labs. On the academic side, all research is publishable. On the BP side, by contrast, the research is proprietary; there is no obligation to publish.

    “Tadeusz Patzek, an engineering professor at Berkeley who formerly worked as a scientist at Shell, believes the deal compromises the university’s ability to look objectively at long-term energy solutions to global warming. He fears that professors, following the money, will steer their research toward BP’s specified area of commercial interest—biofuels—without adequately exploring other energy options. Patzek’s concerns are supported by survey research in the medical field conducted by David Blumenthal and Eric Campbell, policy analysts at Harvard University. Their research finds that academic scientists who receive industry funding are significantly more likely to select research projects that have a higher potential for commercial application. Industry ties, they report, are also associated with longer delays on publication, confidentiality restrictions, and a greater withholding of information from academic peers.”

    …and…

    “(Lisa) Bero (UCSF) points to a large body of research by herself and others that shows industry-funded studies preferentially reach conclusions that favor sponsors’ products or interests. One meta-analysis published in BMJ (British Medical Journal) found that pharmaceu­tical-­industry-funded research was four times more likely to reflect favorably on a drug than research not financed by industry. Even when Bero controls for a variety of other factors, she finds that the effect of industry funding on the research outcome is huge. Research on secondhand smoke conducted by researchers with industry ties is 88 times more likely to find no harm; industry-funded studies comparing cholesterol drugs are 20 times more likely to favor the sponsor’s drug.

    “This happens, Bero contends, because private industry has become increasingly sophisticated about how it uses “science” to achieve its commercial objectives. “We’ve looked at the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries, and now we’re looking at legal documents pertaining to the asbestos, vinyl chloride, and lead industries,” she reports. The techniques they use are remarkably similar: Positive research gets published; negative research doesn’t. The sponsor’s drug is given at a higher dosage than the competitor’s drug. The sponsors control study design, access to data, and statistical analysis. They ghostwrite articles and pay prominent academics to sign on as “authors.”

    “Bero observes that many professors are desperate to find funding for their research, and a lot of them are naive about the potential for industry influence. “You never think you’re at risk for conflicts of interest,” she says. “You always think your coworker is.””

    …and…

    “One 2005 study examining more than 100 academic medical centers found that half would allow the corporate sponsor to write manuscripts reporting on study results and only allow faculty to “suggest revisions”—a policy basically authorizing commercial ghostwriting of academic research. Thirty-five percent allowed the sponsor to store clinical trial data and release only portions to the investigator; 62 percent allowed the sponsor to alter the study design after the researchers and the sponsor had signed an agreement.”

    http://discovermagazine.com/2007/oct/sciences-worst-enemy-private-funding/article_view?b_start:int=2&-C=
    ==============

    There’s lots more in this piece, which starts here:

    http://discovermagazine.com/2007/oct/sciences-worst-enemy-private-funding

    In a sense, Matt’s got it right, but not for the reason he intended.

  50. 400
    Rod B says:

    Rafael Gomez-Sjoberg (383): You make a fair and valid point. (You, too, Ray (384).) I was aware of this during the discourse. I did, however, look beyond RC, including other blogs/forums (climate and general physics) and a few papers and lecture notes from academia and professionals found on the internet. Certainly not exhaustive, and no actual textbooks. None-the-less I think my point still has some merit. Even though I am discussing with folks in the “2nd tier” of knowledge, it is surprising, and, I think, instructive that most of my sources and fellow posters each assert definitive answers that diametrically oppose other’s definitive answers. It is also surprising and curious that “all” of the 2nd tier and below folks (I’m probably 3rd or 4th tier) do not have the basic true information; that only the professional elite know — and they aren’t telling. (I also understand why they would neither be inclined nor obligated to present a full year’s course on a blog — that would be pretty silly and wasteful of them.) None-the-less (again) whether a gas like our atmosphere radiates a continuous spectrum ala Planck function, or not, for example, should not be so mysterious and known only to a select few, at least at the system level. Yet many in the so-called 2nd tier will swear on a stack of Bibles (or evolution texts, if you will — sorry! couldn’t resist [;-) ) that it doesn’t and many (including the forum lectures developing the theory) that it does.

    It just makes it difficult to fully accept this “mature and unassailable” science.


Switch to our mobile site